This is kind of awesome…from Beijing Review via Danwei :
More than a century ago, in 1904, a 17-year-old young Chinese, leaving behind
his wife and new-born son, came to Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe) to make a living, as
he had no chance of getting a share of his ancestral property, being the
youngest among the five boys of a peasant family in Nanpan Village near
Guangzhou. After 18 years, his illiterate village wife adventured into Africa
all by herself to join him, knowing there was no possibility of his return to
China. The brave woman overcame all obstacles of language and location in the
course of her long journey.
This is not a fictional story, but a true account
of what happened to the grandparents of Fay King Chung, the first woman Chinese
minister of Zimbabwe and the first Director of the UNESCO International
Institute for Capacity Building in Africa (IICBA). She worked in various
capacities in the Zimbabwean Ministry of Education in the 1980s, before finally
rising to the position of minister. (Read more)
I have personal reasons for finding this article interesting. Fay’s grandfather – along with about half the married men of his generation – emigrated from their ancestral village of Nanpan, near Guangzhou, around the turn of the last century. Fay’s grandfather went to Zimbabwe, but others made their new lives in South Africa, Cuba and Jamaica.
My great-grandfather and his brother left their village somewhere in Guangdong (for all I know, it was Nanpan) at around the same time, stopping over in London, and then making their way to Jamaica before settling in Haiti. Or at least that is how the family lore goes. I have two photographs of my great grandfather, know his last name was Feng, and that he owned a restaurant in Haiti and possibly a laundry, but was a pharmacist in his old life. Did he also leave behind a wife Guangdong? What had happened in his homeland that he was willing to leave everything he knew behind, lose his country, lose his language, lose even his blood, absorbed and mixed into the Great Caribbean Gene Pool? If he were alive today, would he recognize himself in any of his descendents?
I wish I could go to his ancestral village, but our family lost knowledge along time ago, probably forever.